Sunday, August 3, 2008

thoughts from the paper route

Today I was writing in my journal about my paper route, and it occured to me that you might like to read this little story... BTW, I have turned in my 2 weeks notice. I cannot sleep during the day, no matter how tired I am. And I am very, very tired.

There is a little old man on my route who gets upset when his paper comes after 4am. My 2nd day on the route he was waiting for me just inside his door. He saw the truck stop out front and came storming out of his house. He pulled up short when he realized he had never seen me before. Then he started in with, “You’re late. My paper never used to be late, but this past month it has been late all the time.” I explained that this was just my 2nd day and I was learning the route, and the manager had had trouble filling the spot. Then he said, “Well, I’ll give you a week or 2.” I thanked him. My friendly politeness seemed to throw him off guard. I wished him a good day and continued on. It was 4:45am. A few days later he walked out to speak with me again. It seems I had thrown his friend’s paper in a muddy ditch the day before. I apologized profusely, and he said he had told his friend that I was new. He defended me! I was shocked and I thanked him. 1 ½ weeks later, yesterday, the truck was 1 ½ hours late; therefore the little old man’s paper was also very late. He was waiting outside for me so I pulled up to give him his paper before finishing the other side of the street and turning around. He mentioned the lateness, and I explained that the truck had been nearly 2 hours late. I told him I was very sorry to be so late. He said, “Well, I’m sorry for both of us. This couldn’t have happened at a worse time.” He looked so disturbed that I asked what was wrong. “I have a lot to do today.” He exclaimed. “There’s this yard sale, and it remains to be seen whether my daughter and daughter-in-law have prepared properly.” I could think of nothing to say to that. So I told him that I hoped the rest of his day went better and drove on. The other carriers can’t stand the little old man. His demands are unreasonable. He is somewhat rude. He complains all the time. But I look at him and think how sad he is. He is old, his personality quirks have thickened, his obsessions have taken over. What will my personality quirks and obsessions be when I am old? When my body and my mind have begun to fade? Will my strong will continue on without restraint?

becky givens
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